By BENJAMIN NJOKU
Ewulum Ifeanyi Anthony, popularly known as Rexy Anonimouz Ewulum, might not be popular among music lovers back home, but ask some in India, if they are familiar with his name, and the response will amaze you.
Rexy is one of the African musicians making waves in the country that is known for its romantic mausoleums. The singer relocated to India in 2010, after his graduation from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, where he studied Electronics Engineering.
He later returned to the county before finally moving to India in search of greener pastures in 2013. While in India, Rexy’s driving force was to hustle to make ends meet. But somehow, he found himself venturing into music through a friend that he met there. Having had a strong passion for music back home, it was easier for the Anambra State-born rapper to blend with his friend, Charles. But singing their way into prominence in a foreign land like India, was something of a great expectation for them.
However, after several attempts to showcase his talent proved abortive, Rexy and his friend finally broke into the Indian music space. And today, they are among the most talk about musicians in Delhi.
Sharing his thrilling story with our reporter, via WhatssAp conversation, Rexy recalls how he ventured into music in India, noting that he started performing in the club, after he was rejected severally by DJs and show promoters there.
According to him, Indian DJs need to trust and believe in you before they can give you the platform to showcase the stuff you are made of.
He narrates: ” I travelled to India in 2010, after my graduation from the university. Later, I returned to Nigeria, where I spent some time before returning to India again. While in the country, I was trying to study the music terrain there. But in 2012, I ventured into music properly and it was after I ran into a friend who suggested that we should start producing our own music.”
“Before I travelled to India, I tried to venture into music. During my secondary school days, I had the opportunity to compose some of my songs and was involved in music as a child. Then, it was difficult for one’s parents to support his dream. While my mom was supporting my dream, my dad was opposed to it. I hail from a family that is into business, it was difficult for my parents to support my ambition to become a musician. But when I arrived India, I started visiting some clubs alongside one of my friends.”
“At the clubs, I saw some musicians from Africa, who perform at these clubs. I said to myself, I can do better than these artistes. From there, I started contacting some of the Indian show promoters and DJs. I was practically begging them to give me a chance to showcase my talent. But they kept rejecting me. All they wanted was for me to be visiting the club and spending my money without achieving my goal. Even if you have the connection, they don’t still trust you because they haven’t seen your music video and stuffs like that. At a point, they asked me to make songs, put them in a CD and bring to us, which I did, but to no avail.”
“I realized that they were joking with me, and that was when I stopped visiting that club. So, I switched to another club, where I met some Djs who immediately gave me the platform to showcase my talent. That was the first time I visited the club, and I was given the opportunity to perform on stage. It was something, I couldn’t achieve after three months of visiting the previous club. That was in 2013, and since then, I started performing regularly alongside my friend in that club. Performing in that club was like, we were chasing our dreams. We weren’t paid a dine, but we were happy that we have been giving an opportunity to showcase our talents in India.”
” With time, we started gaining popularity in that club which was what we wanted. It wasn’t easy breaking into the Indian music space.”
Rexy admitted that Indian DJs initially rejected him as a Nigerian musician. But on the contrary, he noted that discrimination wasn’t part of the major problems he faced in India, but that of trust and relationship.
‘Discrimination has been there right from the first club I visited because they knew where I was coming from. But that wasn’t why they refused to give me the platform to showcase my talent. The problem was that they didn’t trust me enough to give me the platform. But when I switched to another club, where I was not paid a dine , I started making waves. I didn’t care about the pay, all I wanted was to become popular among the people. My friend and I, tried to prove ourselves that we could do better than what other musicians were doing, and it’s not about what they hear or read about Nigeria,” Rexy further narrated.
He continued: “Today, we are known all over India. Those music promoters and Djs who rejected us before are now congratulating us, saying they didn’t know that we are talented artistes. They were like asking us to return to where we were initially rejected. But it wasn’t possible again because we have moved to another stage in our careers. These days, we do our shows and produce our music. For me, it’s not about racial discrimination, in as much as you are talented and can deliver on stage. Nobody will stop you if you know what you are doing.”
Rexy said breaking into the Indian music space, he had to make songs that appealed to the natives. “When I was making my songs, I was making them for the India audience. I wasn’t playing for my African brothers in India. The Indians were even singing my songs. I recall when I was accused of refusing to entertain my people, after I was invited to perform for an African community. But then, my African brothers never supported me when I was honing my craft. Now that I am popular and making waves, they want to identify with my music,” he added.
Rexy, who describes himself as a rapper said he added Afro hop to his songs after he realized it sells among the African community in India.
He went on to reveal how he has over 150 songs, and two albums to his credit. But since he’s not signed to any record label , he’s taking his time to push out new songs.
According to him, “I can release an album any time. But right now, I’m focusing on my solos. I do Afro-pop, English songs and above all, I am a rap artiste.”
On appreciation of Nigerian music, Rexy said Indians love the country’s style of music which is currently gaining global attention.
“As a music loving country, Indians are in love with our style of music. They like to listen to something different, which our music provides for them. Nigerian music has gone viral, and every country is watching our music on YouTube and other social media platforms. While performing on stage, I have many Indian fans,who will be there cheering me even if they don’t understand what I am singing provided they are enjoying the melody. They are embracing Nigerian music because it’s different from other countries’ music,” he said.
However, sharing his experience with Indian women, Rexy said they are always falling whenever he grabs the mic.
“Women are always attracted to music anywhere in the world. If they don’t like your song , I don’t know how you are going to move forward in your career. Women love music, and that’s why they are attracted to people like us. They will throw themselves at us, telling you how much they love your music. We’d return their love and at same time, remain focused on what we are chasing.”
“Normally, we meet different kinds of women who are showering love on us. There’s always love, there’s no hatred in music. I have met many Indian ladies both on and off the stage showing love to me. All the same, I still remain focused even though I am not married. But when it comes to Indian women, they are always falling when I grab the mic,” he enthused.
Rexy, described his sojourn in India as a success story, adding that while he was in Nigeria, he didn’t have the opportunity to actualize his dream of going into music until he moved to India.
At the moment, he said he’s planning to storm the country to promote his music as well as be part of the ongoing musical revolution in Nigeria.
“Relocating to Nigeria is something I planned last year, but because of the COVID-19, I couldn’t execute the plan. However, before October, I hope to storm the country, to see where my music will take me to. So, doing my music in India is a massive success, I craved for something, I worked for it, I killed my shows. That’s what success is all about,” Rexy concluded.